By William Bowman
The Daily Item
BLOOMSBURG -- In the end, it was just one more yard and a meaningless touchdown in another win for the nationally ranked Bloomsburg Huskies. But Chris Steck argued for it like it was last yard of the Super Bowl.
That's how much running the football matters to Bloomsburg.
While Huskies came up just short on their final drive of Saturday's game, by then the damage had been done. Franklyn Quiteh ran for 202 yards, becoming the 11th player in PSAC history to reach the 4,000-yard career mark, as Bloomsburg punished Gannon with 483 yards on the ground in a tougher-than-the-score-looks 43-24 win at Redman Stadium on Saturday.
Freshman quarterback Tim Kelly threw three first-half TDs, Eddie Mateo added 180 yards and a score on the ground, and Quiteh added two second-half scores as Bloomsburg (5-0) shut down Gannon in the second half to remain unbeaten.
"This is who we are," said Steck, an All-PSAC center from Mount Carmel, after Bloomsburg ran for its most yards in a game since 2004. "We want every yard we can get."
The Huskies got plenty of them, and for a while it looked like they would need them all. Bloomsburg allowed Gannon (1-4) to hang around well into the second half thanks to uncharacteristic mistakes across the board. The Huskies were flagged eight times for 94 yards in the first half alone. For that reason, despite rolling up 364 yards, they led Gannon by just four at the break.
"We just kept making mistakes and making things tougher than it had to be," said Mateo, whose gained his 180 on just 17 carries. "We are confident we can score and move the ball on anyone."
Bloomsburg led 21-17 at the break after it looked like it was going to break things open. Kelly found Kyle Fisher streaking down the middle of the field for a 38-yard score to make it 21-10 with more than 11 minutes to play the first half. After forcing a three-and-out, Kelly was intercepted on the first play of the next series. On the very next snap, Gannon freshman QB Liam Nadler found a wide open Joe Sobuki for a TD pass to make it 21-17.
Gannon then scared the Redman Stadium faithful by driving the length of the field on just four plays to start the second half. A little more than a minute into the third quarter, Gannon went ahead 24-21 on Nadler's TD pass to Abraham Ocasio.
From that point on Bloomsburg flexed its muscle, proving why it is ranked No. 10 in the nation.
Following a long kick return by D.J. Robinson, Quiteh plowed in from 6 yards to give Bloomsburg the lead back. Later in the third, Mateo carried four times for 33 yards on a five-play drive, going in untouched from 11 yards to make it a two-score game. The Huskies then bridged the third and fourth quarters with an 86-yard TD drive. Quiteh carried the ball six times -- including a 5-yard run that put him over the 4,000-yard mark -- and capped the drive by gliding into the end zone for a 28-yard TD, making it 43-24.
"It's a nice friendly competition we have going here," said Quiteh of his relationship with Mateo. "Bottom line is we want the team to win. It's all about getting the 'W.'"
"As linemen, we take it upon ourselves to take control of a game like this," said Steck. "After they scored to start the second half, we knew we were going to score some more. We opened some holes and Eddie and Frank just kept making plays."
So did the Huskies' defense. After the TD on the opening drive of the second half, Gannon managed just 65 total yards on its final six drives. Larry Webster had a pair of sacks and the Huskies finished with seven tackles for loss to shut out the Golden Knights over the final 28 1/2 minutes.